Before I get started, welcome to the folks who are joining us through our DC Universe Gleek giveaway. Thank you for stopping in!
Some of you first-timers may be looking for Mattel action figures and find the site chock full of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe right now. As you’ll come to know, I’ve got a limited amount of space for toys, so when I started on the exclusive Nick Fury earlier in the week, I’ve been working through all the Marvel Universe toys I’ve been finding since getting back from San Diego Comic-Con. MU requires a special photo set up, so I’ve been compelled to get through the backlog so I don’t have to keep switching back and forth on equipment.
I’ve got one more Marvel Universe 3-Pack to go, and on deck are the Mattel and Four Horsemen figures from San Diego Comic-Con.
Some of the Marvel fans I know may not forgive me if I were to admit that I’ve never seen an episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. But I’m feeling lucky so I’m coming clean. When the show was on the air, I was strictly a Saturday morning ABC kid, watching Superfriends and learning about conjunctions with Schoolhouse Rock. With Spidey on NBC later in the morning, I just never got to tune in. And at the risk of further alienation, I haven’t read many comics with Firestar in it.
So why did I pick up this set? I guess I really needed a 4th Spider-Man from this particular mold. 😉
Let’s do a quick recap of the packaging. The TRU 3-packs feature a nice picture window that lets you inspect each figure pretty closely. The Spider-Man card art is from Frank Cho, but I’m not sure who did Firestar and Iceman. The back of the packaging shows the figure prototypes and gives a brief description of the three characters, I’m guessing from the animated show. That was a nice start to my Spidey and Friends crash course.
I wondered at the start of the week if I was going to have anything new to say by the time I got to this 3-pack. I reviewed the Secret Wars and wave 5 Spideys right before this one, and they all use the same mold from the Spider-Man that Marvel Universe had in the first wave of figures. To briefly recap those: great height, a bit too chunky for my ideal Spidey, and the mold is starting to wear out, as evidenced by the etched webbing on his right temple.
As it turns out, I do have something new to add. First, this is my clear favorite of the four Spideys I have from this mold. While the coloring is the same as that of the wave 1 and Secret Wars Spideys, at least as far as I can tell, the big difference is the amount of wash on the figure. Its predecessors all have had heavier washes, making the figures look messier than they really ought to. This Spidey is really clean in that regard.
On the other side of the coin, this was the first Marvel Universe figure that I’ve had a tight or stuck joint, in this case in the right wrist swivel. Since I’ve opened 3 of these already this week, I am guessing this is a one-off and not something pervasive. With pegs this size, I am not going to risk force-twisting the joint, but will boil, pop, and then reinsert it.
Since I already came clean, I’m not going to try to pretend I know a lot about Firestar. Since this really is just our second female in the line (I count Ms. Marvel and variant as one) I wanted to see how things turned out, since Ms. Marvel often has a strategically placed sash or scarf to hide some of the articulation.
Articulation-wise, there’s some redundant spinning meat, and some ways the figure could be improved. First, she’s got a waist swivel and boobiticulation (a barbell in the middle of her torso, behind her breasts). With a good mid-torso barbell, a lot of Marvel Universe male figures can move pretty well. With the boobiticulation, there’s not as much range of motion on in the upper torso. You get the full swivel, but only some limited tilting. That might have allowed for some slight contrapposto posing, but the waist is a pure swivel. If they made the waists like some of the Super Hero Showdown figures, where the torso’s bottom is convex while the top of the crotch is concave, that would help.
There’s also some improvement that could take place with the paint. Most parts are produced in yellow. It looks a little dull compared to paint (take Electro from the Wave 5 review as an example). There are some flame transitions from red to orange to yellow on her gloves and boots, and those colors are a bit too close to each other not have some kind of neutral outline between them.
Like the Carol Danvers / Warbird / Ms. Marvel, the hair on Firestar is very pliable, so you’ll have no problems moving the head around. One thing I found interesting is that she’s painted without pupils, with white mask eyes, but it’s possible that there are hints of an eye sculpt behind there.
When this line started, it was like Scarlet Witch had uttered “No more mutants” after Wolverine in wave 1, so I’m glad to start seeing the x-gene love in Secret Wars and here, with both Firestar and Iceman surviving the plastic version of M-Day. Iceman is based on the black Spider-Man body of which I’m a fan, and it works here for Iceman too. I’m never really fond of smiling or screaming headsculpts, but I suppose it’s appropriate to the animated show and Bobby Drake’s earliest days in the X-Men comics.
I think some people might think the blue airbrushing is a little heavy. I am ok with it. Is this the right time to ask for thigh swivels?
Overall I’ve got mixed feelings on this set – that’s probably because of my complete ignorance on Firestar and the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends show. The set doesn’t come with any accessories (which I usually just toss into a ziploc bag anyways), so a big driver for the set is the affinity people have for the TV show.
For me, then, the value in this set is getting Iceman, who I like despite the smirk, and the best washed Spider-Man yet. But then, I have 3 of those already. A little steep for what I paid, around $25 and change. But Firestar fans, despite her leading role in Marvel Divas, I think this may be the only Firestar that you’ll have the chance to get in this line in the near future.